Renters Laws in Pennsylvania

By Roger Thorne
Pennsylvania landlord tenant laws, renters' rights
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Like every other state, Pennsylvania has specific laws governing renters and their interactions with their landlords. Whenever conflicts arise between a renter and his landlord, they must be handled within the confines of the Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act of 1951. This collection details how conflicts are to be handled by the court, how each party can act, and what their duties and responsibilities are under the law.

Quiet Enjoyment

Whenever a renter enters into a lease, she is generally granted the right of quiet enjoyment. This means the landlord cannot unreasonably interfere with the tenant's use and possession of the property. The landlord is not allowed to enter the property without having a legitimate purpose and providing adequate notice. He must allow the renter access to the property and must not withhold utilities. If a landlord violates your rights to quiet enjoyment, you can seek injunctive relief from the courts, ordering the landlord to cease such activities. You may also be able to terminate the lease prematurely.

Habitability

Whenever a property is rented that is intended to be used as a dwelling, the landlord must maintain that property in a habitable condition. This includes meeting the minimal standards set by state and local governments. Habitability usually involves such things as hot and cold running water, adequate heating and and cooling, proper placement of smoke detectors, as well as proper sewage and waste removal. Any renter who believes the habitability requirements of the property are not being met has a duty to notify the landlord of any problems. Upon being notified, landlords must act within a reasonable time to repair the problem or ensure the property is returned to habitable status.

Evictions

A renter can be evicted from his property if he is in violation of the lease terms. Typically, renters are evicted when they fail to pay the rent. Before a landlord may evict a tenant, he must provide notice of his intent to do so within 10 days before he can go to court. Once notice is provided, the landlord can petition the court for a hearing on the eviction. The renter has the right to appear at this hearing and make her case before the court. If the eviction is granted, the landlord will be granted a writ of possession and will be able to order the tenant to leave the property. The eviction will then be carried out by the sheriff or law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction within 10 days. (Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 68 Section 250.501. et seq.)